Peer learning

Peer learning refers to a practitioner-to-practitioner approach in which the transfer of tacit knowledge is particularly important (Andrews and Manning 2016).

It is based on adult learning principles and effective workplace learning practices (Cohen 2006). Peer learning can have different objectives and take many forms but it relies on a relationship of mutual respect, trust, confidence in one another, and commitment (Boud 2001; Andrews and Manning 2016).

Peer learning can be at the heart of some specific methods (such as book club learning circles) and it can be an embedded feature of other methods, such as learning from debriefing participants’ examples in a formal course.


The Australasian Evaluation Society (AES)

The AES has a number of peer learning opportunities. Most regional groups have monthly meetings which provide opportunities for members and guests to learn from each other either formally through presentations and seminars or informally during networking interactions. 

In addition, there are a number of book clubs, where participants discuss a particular book or article. The Realist Evaluation and Realist Synthesis Special Interest Group (SIG) has a book club that meets virtually to discuss a specific paper or other materials. The Victorian region previously had a book club that met after monthly regional meetings. The Canberra region currently has a book club.

Effective Institutions Platform

The Effective Institutions Platform (EIP) is an alliance of over 60 countries and organisations that support country-led and evidence-based policy dialogue, knowledge sharing and peer learning on public sector management and institutional reform. The EIP has a deliberate focus on peer learning, tapping into the experience of practitioners to move from pre-defined solutions to more applied and context-specific approaches to public service delivery. It works through and experiments with innovative approaches to peer learning under the "Learning Alliances on Public Sector Reform". Under the auspices of the EIP, a Peer-to-Peer Learning Guide (PDF) was developed to help actors think through key stages of peer learning processes and use a principles-based approach to effective peer-to-peer support and learning.

Advice for using this method

  • Individuals should see what is available in terms of peer learning in their local area or online. A good starting point is by getting in touch with a local evaluation society or organisation. If nothing is available, see if you can build some interest in starting one or offer to co-organise.
  • Evaluation associations and societies may consider organizing or encouraging others to hold peer learning events around specific evaluation issues, methods or processes (e.g., a study circle, book club or other interactive means)

Peersman, G. and Rogers, P. (2017). Pathways to advance professionalisation within the context of the Australasian Evaluation Society. Melbourne: ANZSOG/BetterEvaluation. Retrieved from:

Andrews M, Manning N (2016). A guide to peer-to-peer learning. How to make peer-to-peer support and learning effective in the public sector? Paris: OECD-UNDP: Effective Institutions Platform (EIP).

Cohen C (2006). Evaluation Learning Circles: a sole proprietor’s evaluation capacity-building strategy. New Directions for Evaluation 111:85-93.

Boud D (2001). Introduction: Making the Move to Peer Learning. In: Boud D, Cohen R, Sampson J (Eds.). Peer learning in higher education: Learning from & with each other. London: Kogan Page Ltd, 1– 17.

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